Secret Struggle to Keep the Nations United
Byline: JAMES CLARK
DIPLOMATS have had to work furiously behind the scenes to keep up Nato's united front.
Privately, all 19 member nations have concerns about the conflict and some have been suspected of serious wavering.
In the case of Italy and Greece, especially, there have been fears over weakening resolve.
They are close to the conflict and might expose damaging cracks in the alliance, handing Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic a propaganda coup and adding weight to Russian and Chinese objections about the legitimacy of the air campaign.
The meeting of ministers in Brussels on Monday appears to have cemented over any cracks for the moment. A British source said: 'We were probably expecting more difficulties than we got. Things are very much on an even keel now, and any wobbles which might have emerged have probably been and gone.' But the isolationist tendencies of the French are a constant worry for Nato bosses, given that Paris has been keener than most to promote a rival European stance to the dominance of the Americans.
And while the Germans, like the French, have thrown their forces enthusiastically into the Balkan operation, tensions have surfaced over the refusal by the U.S. to release all the intelligence data picked up by their spy satellites.
Suggestions in Washington that the French could not be trusted with sensitive information - because in the past, it has ended up in the possession of the Serbs - have, predictably, not played well in Paris.
Another factor is the recent expansion of Nato to include three former Warsaw Pact nations - Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, which were once under the heel of the Russians. …